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Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch Active will have ECG heart rate tracking, report claims

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But the feature won’t go live until 2020

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The original Galaxy Watch Active (pictured), only had an optical heart rate tracker.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Samsung’s unannounced successor to the Galaxy Watch Active, the Galaxy Watch Active 2, will be the first smartwatch from the company to feature an ECG heart rate tracker, reports Wareable. However, the report claims that the feature won’t be available when the watch is first released, and will be added with a post-release update in the first half of 2020. At launch, the watch is expected to feature more basic heart rate tracking, with alerts if your heat rate jumps too high or drops too low.

This won’t be the first time a Samsung smartwatch will include heart rate tracking, but previous watches like the Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch have only included less accurate light-based optical trackers. In contrast, electrocardiogram (ECG) trackers measure electrical signals, which are more accurate and also open up the possibility for them to detect health conditions. However, ECG requires the FDA to grant its approval for devices featuring the functionality, which is reportedly the reason for Samsung’s delayed release of the feature.

Adding ECG support post-release is exactly what Apple did with the Apple Watch Series 4, which was released in September last year but only received its ECG update in December in the US, and March this year in the UK. However, Apple said that it already had FDA clearance (which is not the same as “approval”) when it originally announced the watch. If Samsung doesn’t have FDA clearance when it announces the Galaxy Watch Active 2, it may need to get that as well.

Otherwise, the unannounced watch looks like a more traditional update to Samsung’s smartwatch lineup. It will be available in three different variants, one with LTE, one Bluetooth-only, and an Under Armour branded model that will feature an exclusive strap and will come with a six month subscription to MapMyRun. According to SamMobile, all three models will be available in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, and they’ll run on version 1.5 of Samsung’s One UI software.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 will be unveiled alongside the Galaxy Note 10 at an event in New York next month, according to Wareable. Samsung has already scheduled an event for August 7th.

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